“I think the NFL felt very strongly that since they were just here in 2007, they wanted something new for the teams, the visitors, the fans and quite frankly, the media,” said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Not that we are hating on our brothers to the north, but the Super Bowl is supposed to be Miami's time in the spotlight. We aren't against sharing (i.e. Interstate 95, the sunshine, corrupt politicians), but giving away Super Bowl events and tourist dollars is like giving away your last bit of sun tan lotion.
South Beach is usually party central for many Super Bowl revelers. Hugh Hefner hasn't abandoned us yet.
For a lot of people this year, the party is shifting to Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Sidewalk cafes will move out into the street. And the beach will host a free concert on the Saturday before the big game.
The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood will also host a series of events Super Bowl Week, many of which are sponsored by the NFL and the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee.
Yes, Miami will see plenty of Super Bowl action and things will likely be busy on South Beach. Pro athletes still see Miami as the strip club mecca so Miami-Dade will get its share of the expected rain of cash in the forecast.
But the goal is to create a fresh new environment for America's premiere sports event.
The media will work out of the Broward County Convention Center. One of the teams will stay at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on Fort Lauderdale beach. And the NFL’s headquarter hotel is the Westin Beach Resort on Fort Lauderdale's beach strip.
“With all the new hotels that have opened up, and luxury hotels, it's a great way to expose the nation and the people coming from around the world to what Fort Lauderdale beach has to offer,” Amaury Piedra, general manager of the Westin Beach Resort.
Grossman said Fort Lauderdale is ready.
“130,000 thousand people are coming here and only 75,000 get into that stadium,” she said. “They know where to party and how to party and we know how to treat them.”